Foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is the advanced knowledge by God of those whom He specially chosen for blessing, and it implies a unique and blessed relationship intended. Foreknowledge is closely connected with election, and it has to do with the sovereignty of God in the salvation of man. It is connected also with the omniscience of God, and prescience (knowing all things beforehand), but it goes beyond this, and is therefore quite distinct. Jehovah said of Israel in Amos 3:2, “You only have I known of all the families of the earth”. Obviously, Jehovah had Divine knowledge of every family of the earth, but He was speaking of a special knowledge that implies a purpose of blessing, and a relationship. We see this again in the way Peter applies the word “foreknown” to Christ in 1 Pet. 1:19-20; “Christ, foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but who has been manifested at the end of times for your sakes”. It wasn’t merely that God knew Christ would be born into this world, and would shed His precious blood, etc. God intended that He would be manifested (see also Acts 2:23; 4:28). In Romans 8, we find that “whom he has foreknown, he has also predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Rom. 8:29). If foreknowledge was merely omniscience, then all men would be predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, but that is not the case.
Election, Predestination, and Foreknowledge. Election, predestination, and foreknowledge are not the same. Election has to do with the person, predestination has to do with the place, and foreknowledge has to do with the relationship intended. A jeweler chooses a rough diamond (election), before all the cutting and polishing has occurred, but all the while he has the final product in mind (predestination). God has a purpose in election. Therefore, election is not arbitrary. God is not capricious. We were chosen purposefully, not as a replacement for something that did not work out. His purpose, from a past eternity, was to conform us to the image of His Son! Foreknowledge is the advanced knowledge of those whom God has specially chosen for blessing, and it implies a unique relationship intended. Peter could say, "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father" (1 Pet. 1:2). God chose us according to the Divine foreknowledge by which He anticipated a relationship with us.